In praise of the Beta reader.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

Do you use beta readers? Have they been useful in improving your writing?

I do, I have a small team of people who I’ve nurtured over the years and who get all my novels to read well before anyone else does.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I couldn’t do it without them. At least, not to the standard that their assistance has helped me to achieve.

They’ve all proved themselves to be great critics of my work, always willing to point out any flaws and suggest ways that my stories can be made more readable. I welcome negative feedback at this stage of the process.

I hope they’ll like what I’ve written but I’m realistic and know that not everyone will. The last thing I want is for everyone to tell me how wonderful things are.

Their feedback ranges from a few paragraphs to pages of notes, which must take them ages to prepare. I’m constantly amazed by the amount of effort they put in and very grateful for all of it.

Because I value what they do, I’m a beta reader myself, for various authors. It’s my way of trying to give a little back.

Between them, they spot just about all of my mistakes.

Not just typos and misplaced grammar, they also see the plot holes, inconsistencies and suspensions of disbelief that all writers simply don’t notice as they’re writing. Because we’re so close to the narrative.

Authors know their own work by heart, which means that there are always bits we leave out. It may be because we assume everyone also knows the story as well as we do, or because we don’t think that telling everyone what is obvious to us is necessary.

Because the beta reader is detached, they can spot things that should be there, as well as the things that you might have missed a hundred times.

However, there is one thing that nobody ever sees. That’s the juicy typo which only reveals itself once you’ve pressed publish and the work is out there.

The great thing about self-publishing is that it doesn’t matter. Once I’m alerted to a mistake, I can have a corrected version uploaded in a matter of minutes.

And one final thought.

If you’d like to be one of my beta team, and read my new work before anyone else does, just let me know.

Until next time.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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6 Responses

    • Richard Dee

      I’ve never been involved in a group. I prefer the idea of only letting my work be seen when it’s finished.

    • Richard Dee

      Years later, one will still resurface, goodness knows where they hide.

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